Tom Okker (1944) Dutch tennis player

Born in Haarlem, the Netherlands, on February 22, 1944, tennis player Tom Samuel Okker became Dutch Champion for the first time in 1964. He kept his title until 1968, the year he turned professional. Tom Okker would turn out to be the best Dutch tennis player of all time, at least until Richard Krajicek came along.

At Wimbledon he once reached the quarter-final in doubles (1968), but his major British grass success came in 1978, when he reached the semi-final in the singles tournament. He came close to winning the US Open (also on the green surface) in 1968, losing to legendary Arthur Ashe in the final.

In 1969 the right-hander reached the highest ever spot for a Dutchman on the world tennis rankings, occupying the third place, just behind Rod Laver and Arthur Ashe. For seven years he stayed in the Top Ten. All in all, he won twenty tournaments in singles and an amazing 78 in doubles. His game was characterized by a certain grace and light-footedness which deserved him the extremely original nickname Flying Dutchman. Of all his matches in official ATP tournaments, he won 308 and lost 142. According to the ATP, Tom Okker's total career prize money was $1,257,200. To illustrate the evolution of money in the tennis world, let's compare this to Patrick Rafter for instance, a player with a similar career but then thirty years later: his career prize money is over 11 million dollars, just last year earning more than $1,500,000..

After his tennis-career Okker settled down in Amsterdam as an art broker. He still plays on the senior tour occasionally.

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